Edgar: Being a Marketable Champ Takes Time

By Joe Myers Sep 2, 2010
It took two wins over the fighter considered by many to be the greatest lightweight in mixed martial arts history in B.J. Penn, but UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar finally might be getting some much-deserved respect.

Still, Edgar doesn't consider himself to be in Penn's league just yet. That only comes by standing the test of time.

"It's going to take time, just like it took time for GSP to be considered to be the best welterweight because Matt Hughes was so good for so long," Edgar said on the Sherdog Radio Network's "It's Time!" show with Bruce Buffer on Tuesday. "Now GSP has so many wins and people think he's the best. It just takes time for me to get my respect and that's how it works. You have to earn your time."

While most fighters might rest on their laurels after defending their championship, the 28-year-old Edgar said the back-to-back wins over Penn have made him want to go out and accomplish more in his MMA career.

"I'm definitely more ambitious," said Edgar, who has wins over former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk, Tyson Griffin and Hermes Franca among his 13 victories. "I feel very motivated personally. I feel like it lit a fire under my ass. I'm still hungry. I really am. I was hungry and this win made me hungrier even more. I don't know why. A lot of people would think that I'd feel content, but I'm not content by any means. It's been like a rollercoaster ride, but I don't want to get settled and go for the ride. I just want to work things out and make it even better."

Edgar's next challenge will come in the form of Gray Maynard, who picked up a unanimous decision win over Kenny Florian in a title eliminator earlier on the card. The title fight will be a rematch of a bout from UFC Fight Night 13 in April 2008 that saw Maynard win a unanimous decision.

Even though Maynard handed him the only loss of his 14-fight professional MMA career, Edgar -- who has now won five straight fights -- said he expects the rematch to go differently.

"I really don't feel that I'm at the top of my abilities yet and I'm sure Gray has room to improve, too," said Edgar, who trains at Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu. "He improved in his last fight and I improved in my last fight. We're different fighters and I think it'll be a different fight than it was. I think I've made a lot of progress. My boxing is a lot more smooth. I'm bigger and stronger. I didn't have a very good jiu-jitsu instructor when I fought him the first time and now I'm studying under Ricardo Almeida."

With Maynard having had seven straight fights go to the judges with just one finish among his 10 wins and Edgar being a relatively new champion that not a lot of people appreciate yet, the prospect of a Maynard-Edgar title fight hasn't gotten the masses excited just yet.

However, Edgar feels a rematch with Maynard is one that not only makes sense, but is a fight people will want to see.

"Being a marketable champion takes time," said the 28-year-old Edgar. "I've got to get some more exposure. I've been in the main event on the main card two times in a row and that helps out some. As far as the storyline goes, I think it's a great storyline. He got a win over me and I've got the title. He's worked his way up and is undefeated. My only loss is to him. I think it's a great storyline. People will want to see that."
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